We Learn Best from Our Mistakes

Topics: Sociolinguistics, French language, Linguistics Pages: 2 (374 words) Published: May 27, 2013
It is impossible to control all of the factors involved in language planning, social, political, and linguistic. Yet, an overall implementation plan is the most promising precaution for avoiding haphazard result (Rubin, 1971; Cooper, 1989). The Norwegian case exemplifies the risks involved in failure to design an implementation plan beforehand. Aasen’s and Knudsen’s proposed language norms gained recognition partly due to the nationalistic spirit of the time, and partly due to the fact that as schoolteachers they had access to the education system. In 1963 the government appointed a “language peace” committee which was to promote the dual linguistic heritage. This committee recommended the abandonment of the linguistic fusion policy (Haugen, 1983:285). Thus the Norwegian government was forced to withdraw gradually from direct intervention. In a way, in spite of all the language reforms undertaken, Norway’s implementation program primarily focused on linguistic aspects, paying too little attention to the social side. The overall failure of the language of the language reform policy exemplifies the fact that implementation of language planning decisions depends on nonlinguistic variables.

The last important component of language planning is evaluation. Once a speech community has embarked on such an endeavor, there is no telling when it stops. Objectives must be periodically re-assessed, as well as implementation procedures. Since planned changes usually interferes or at least intertwines with natural changes, policies sometimes have to be adapted to new situations. For example, until recently no need was felt in France to protect the French language. In 1994 the French government proposed yet another law regulating language use, requiring offenders to pay a fine. These measures come at a time when linguistic minorities all over the world seek to ascertain their linguistic rights.

Language reforms rely on...
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